I’ve been tracking my food off and on for years using tools like Livestrong, Lose It, and, currently, MyFitnessPal. I usually only pay attention to my macro nutrients but recently started looking more at my micros. I can get pretty much all of my vitamins and minerals in my food and supplement with a multivitamin. Sodium is, obviously, super easy to get, making sure you stay under in the hard part.
But Potassium… You need 3500 mg per day, and that ain’t easy! Potassium has a whole slew of benefits: it is good for your nervous, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems as well as helps regulate your metabolism, break down carbs and build muscle.
So I researched the foods that had the highest % RDA and it’s pretty abundant in some fruits, vegetables and beans. I added a potato and banana to breakfast along with my spinach for lunch and broccoli for dinner I was doing ok. Hitting somewhere around 2000 mg a day.
Curious how much was in my multivitamin, I was kind of surprised to find NONE. What?! So I went in search of potassium specific supplements. The highest dose I found was about 90 mg – around 3% of the RDA. There must be some conspiracy! Being the research junkie I am, I found the answer!
In short, it’s because it can kill you! Yeah, that’s a pretty good reason not to take in high doses, eh? Ever heard of Potassium Chloride? It’s the stuff in lethal injections. Apparently, the same systems that it is good for, it can also be bad for in high doses. If you use NoSalt, or some other salt substitute, be mindful that the sodium is removed and replaced with Potassium – essentially another type of salt. That stuff has 650 mg of Potassium!
Conclusion, stick to getting Potassium in your food and forget the supplements. It’s safer and you won’t find enough in them anyway.